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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Report- Bucs Pierre-Paul season in jeopardy with neck fracture

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Since finding out that Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was in a car accident late last week, we’ve been waiting for the update, as to his injuries and how serious they are or aren’t? Now, it looks like the news is potentially really bad for the player and for the team.

This after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported early Tuesday afternoon that Pierre-Paul suffered a neck fracture in the one-car accident in South Florida last week:

While Schefter qualified in his report the Pierre-Paul is seeing next specialists “to see if there’s hope to save the season,” the fact that it’s a fracture brings in scenarios involving possible surgery and long recovery time.

This is a potentially devastating blow to the Bucs pass rush, as Pierre-Paul led them in sacks a year ago with 12.5, becoming the first Buccaneer to register double-digit sacks in a single season in over a decade.

TMZ broke the story last Thursday night that the 30 year old Buccaneers defensive end had a wreck around 5 a.m. that day involving his SUV, and was taken to a local hospital later Thursday morning. There was a yet to be identified passenger with Pierre-Paul, and that person’s condition is also unknown.

The gossip website further reported that Pierre-Paul was not speeding nor believed to have done anything illegal. TMZ further reported that Pierre-Paul was released from the hospital later on Thursday.

The Buccaneers confirmed through GM Jason Licht later on Thursday night that Pierre-Paul had been in a car crash and that they were looking into it more:

“We have been informed that Jason was involved in a one-car accident early this morning in South Florida in which he was not cited. We know that he was evaluated at a local hospital and has since been released. Our immediate concern is for the safety and well-being of Jason and his passenger. We have been in contact with Jason and will be getting him further evaluated by our medical staff in the near future.”

In addition to his sacks, Pierre-Paul had an additional 16 tackles-for-loss and 20 more quarterback hits. He was one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFC and was named as an alternate to the Pro Bowl despite the Bucs 5 – 11 record.

Pierre-Paul is about to enter the third of a four-year deal that has already paid him over $34 million. This season he is slated to make $14.9 million with more than half of that now having been guaranteed, as a roster bonus from back on March 17th.

NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero also reported Tuesday that Pierre-Paul is seeing a second specialist this week:

The Bucs commented via Licht, again, later Tuesday afternoon, but it offered very little:

Licht said in the statement,

“As we stated last week following the news of Jason’s auto accident, our immediate concern was for both Jason and his passenger. While Jason was treated and released in south Florida the same day of the accident, we wanted to ensure that our medical team had an opportunity to perform a thorough evaluation here in Tampa, and that process is currently ongoing.”

So, no confirmation of the injury or the prognosis, if there’s surgery, as of yet.

 

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Report- Bucs have extended GM Jason Licht’s contract

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hoping to practice some form of continuity, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly extended the contract of GM Jason Licht.

This after a report Saturday morning from Bucs beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times, Rick Stroud, that Licht has been given a five-year contract extension to remain with the team:

A big part of the reason why the Glazer family, which owns the team, wanted to keep Licht is: his ability to lure former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians to come out of retirement and join them this past January.

Further, Stroud reports that Arians made it a condition of his coming out of retirement that Licht remain with the team long-term and that the Bucs keep embattled starting QB Jameis Winston.

Licht had been given a one-year extension for 2019 before this offseason, and the Buccaneers had already committed to keep quarterback Jameis Winston for the fifth year option of his rookie contract. Then, once former coach Dirk Koetter was fired in January, Licht’s previous relationship with Arians helped the Bucs get their new coach.

Licht was the assistant general manager with the Cardinals, when Arians was hired in 2013 and led them eventually to the NFC Championship Game in 2014.

Licht became the Buccaneers general manager at that the start of that same season, but has had a rocky tenure of results. This includes only one winning season out of five and several free agent moves and draft picks that have backfired.

None bigger than when Licht traded up in the 2016 draft for FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round, only to have Aguayo falter and be released the following year in training camp.

Licht has also had free agent busts like former Redskins defensive tackle Chris Baker and last year, Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry. Both of whom we’re paid heavily but did nothing in their one season before being released.

Licht and his staff do deserve some credit for finding unheralded players like tight end Cameron Brate, running back Peyton Barber and former wide receiver Adam Humphries. All of whom were undrafted and have been quality contributors over the last couple of seasons.

The team had no official comment on Stroud’s report of the extension.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs rookie PK Gay likely won job with clutch Friday night boot

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not over, but it’s almost over. For all intents and purposes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicking competition ended Friday night with :06 remaining in their second preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. That’s when rookie Matt Gay hammered a 48-yard game winning field goal that almost certainly confirmed that he will be the Bucs opening-day placekicker.

Relive the moment here, as the Utah rookie put it through the uprights and gave Tampa Bay a 16-14 win over the Dolphins:

“I owe it all to those game situations that we practice every day in practice. Bruce [Arians] does them for a reason and when you get out there in the game, it just feels like the practice situation because you’ve done it. So, you’re able to have the nerves calm to be able to go out there and do what you need to do,” Gay said to the media post game.

The Bucs were seemingly beaten when Dolphins backup quarterback Jake Rudock led Miami into the endzone in the final :45  and the Fins also got the two-point conversion for a 14 – 13 lead.

However, Buccaneers backup quarterback Ryan Griffin returned the favor, moving Tampa Bay into field-goal range quickly with a 27-yard completion to backup tight end Tanner Hudson that set up Gay’s game-winning attempt.

The rookie, who had made a Heinz Field record 55-yarder to end the first half in Pittsburgh in the preseason opener Last Friday Night, responded with a booming kick the curled perfectly down the middle. And, it gave Coach Bruce Arians a victory in his second preseason game as new Bucs head coach.

“We’ve done that 34-second one with two timeouts before and I thought Griff executed it to perfection and obviously Matty hit the field goal so it was a big win,” Arians told the media post game.

Gay, whom the Buccaneers drafted in April with 5th round pick, has been expected to win the kicking job from veteran Cairo Santos, who finished 2018 on the Buccaneers roster. Gay has the much stronger leg and Santos’ best hope to make the team was: if he continued to accurately knock field goals and extra points through and have Gay repeatedly misfire.

That has not happened.

And, it seems at this point academic that the rookie will be the Bucs opening day kicker.

However, what happens after the regular season begins is a whole other discussion.

As we have written repeatedly, the Bucs have been a revolving door of kickers over the course of the last five years. This includes, Tampa Bay infamously picking Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round in 2016 only to have Aguayo falter badly in his rookie year.

And, he was cut after the first preseason game of his second year in 2017.

Gay does not lack for confidence, as he’s talked throughout the build-up to preseason that he embraces the pressure that comes with trying to solidify the Buccaneers kicking woes. Now, it appears that the only thing that would prevent him from having the chance in the regular-season to do that is, if he were to somehow get injured at the start of the year.

But, after Friday night’s finish, Gay looks like everything the Bucs and GM Jason Licht hoped he would be- a stone-cold clutch performer who can deliver, when is team needs him the most.

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